TONIGHT: Orioles hope Tigers see error of their ways with Morris on hill

September 12, 1990|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Evening Sun Staff

Besides Ben McDonald, the Orioles' best hope for beating the Detroit Tigers tonight (7:35, HTS) is for Jack Morris to continue the run of luck he's been having.

According to Detroit manager Sparky Anderson, if the veteran righthander didn't have bad luck he wouldn't have any at all. "He's the guy who has been doing a good job, but nobody notices it," said Anderson.

"It just doesn't show. He's given up more unearned runs than any starting pitcher in either league. It's unbelievable some of the things that have happened to him."

The numbers support Anderson's contention. The Tigers have made 33 more errors than the Orioles (111-78), yet have allowed only two more unearned runs (50-48). But 19 of those unearned runs (38 percent) have come at the expense of Morris.

"If we're going to play bad [in this series], wait until [tonight]," said Anderson. Morris (11-17, 5.04) has been the Tigers' ace since Anderson arrived in 1979 and, despite his record this season, he's still the mainstay of the staff with 209 innings.

Morris was baseball's most durable pitcher in the 1980s -- and the Orioles are hoping his mound opponent tonight can fill that role in the 1990s. McDonald (6-4, 2.72) has made only 10 starts in his big-league career and is just starting to scratch the surface of his ability.

It will take another decade to determine whether McDonald can be another Morris, but few question that the big righthander has the tools. It figures to be an intriguing matchup of pitchers with similar styles.

Following tonight's game, the Orioles become bit players in the division race as they travel to Toronto for a four-game series against the Blue Jays, who have closed to within three games of first-place Boston.

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